Actor Nicolette Robinson recently made her Broadway debut as Waitress’ latest leading lady—and the first woman of color to play Jenna. “I’m so honored and grateful for this opportunity,” she tells Playbill. “I always think of how much seeing a woman of color in this role when I was young would have meant to me. It’s so important! Sometimes we need to see things to believe them and I hope this helps other women of color see the realm of possibility for themselves.”
Though the role marks her Broadway bow (and the production just announced her extension through November 18), Robinson is no stranger to the community. Audiences may recognize her from the Vineyard Theatre production of Brooklynite or her breakout in Second Stage’s Invisible Thread back in 2015. (She also happens to call Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr. her husband.) Now, she brings her powerhouse belt and gentle vulnerability to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. “My Jenna is a very close to who I am as a person,” Robinson says. “She feels deeply, cares most about the people she loves and has her own dream life she keeps to herself.”
Robinson must walk onstage with her heart open in order to master the role written by Jessie Nelson, with songs by Sara Bareilles. Naturally, the actor uses music to put her in the right state of mind. This week’s Playbill Mixtape features song selections from Robinson.
“Depending on what mood I’m in, my pre-show playlists mostly consist of Sara Bareilles and Beyoncé, of course!” she says. “I like to warm my voice up with these songs, keep the vibe pretty chill... until the less chill songs come on and they help to hype up my energy for the show! Nothing like good music to get you in the mood.”
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NICOLETTE ROBINSON’S PRE-SHOW PLAYLIST